Let's talk about OUYA

OUYA is probably something a lot of people have yet to hear about since it's still fairly new and isn't even on the market yet. I don't remember how I heard about it but it was probably somewhere on reddit. The ideas behind the console really give me hope for the home game console market and I really, genuinely, hope it does well on the market instead of becoming a niche product.

OUYA (yes, it's cruisin') is a small Android-powered gaming console designed/aimed to open up the home gaming console market. I very much like the idea behind OUYA to the point that I dropped $100 into its Kickstarter a while back despite being unemployed and having to juggle some money around. The good thing is I'll be getting an OUYA console before it's officially available in retail. They're really pushing the "open console" movement and have some big names onboard with them (Square-Enix being a huge one).

However, it remains to be seen how open the console will really be. When you have big name supporters, they always want a say and that say usually brings some kind of DRM with it. After the Dead Trigger fiasco, developers are also quite concerned about piracy. In the AMAs the OUYA team have done on reddit (Julie Uhrman's being the major one), it was stated that the OUYA store would be using server-side authentication for paid content to help fight piracy. I wonder if they're going to be upgrading the console from Android 4.0 to 4.1 since Google has integrated app encryption for paid content to stem piracy but I wonder if that'd extend to third-party stores or not.

Considering that the developer version of the console will be pre-rooted, and this has been asked, will customers lose access to the store or will they be blocked for doing something OUYA encourages (hacking the console)? I haven't seen this answered very well but only that they're trying to decide on what to do about it. Hopefully, rooting your console or even using custom firmware (CyanogenMod, please!) won't lose access to the Ouya Store since there's supposedly going to be exclusive titles on there that won't be appearing on the Play Store.

Speaking of store availability, the Play Store will most likely not be appearing on OUYA since it doesn't fit the requirements to be Google Certified, as far as I know. Though, I wonder if they've looked into being certified as a GoogleTV device to get access to the Play Store, if that's even possible. I actually just sent them a question through Kickstarter about this very thing.

Getting back to the positive, side-loading apps via external storage won't be blocked since it's built into Android. This opens up the platform immensely for the emulation scene. This is the part that gets me particularly excited since I'm a huge classic gamer and being able to play my ROMs on the TV without having to buy some poorly slapped together game collection that omits some of the best games for the console. Considering the SNES hasn't ever had a solid game collection, I can't wait to play some of my favorites for that console on a TV. Finding the yongzh -oid emulators and SNES9x EX and installing them is fairly easy to do (yongzh emulators snes9x ex).

With OUYA having support and backing from Plex and XBMC, this little device is already easily going to compete with the AppleTV and Roku from a home media standpoint but going that often contemplated but never taken step of making games feasibly playable that consoles have been doing for quite a while now but at much higher price points.

With all of the good things that OUYA will be able to do and bring to "mobile" gaming, will the DRM negative push too many people off or will it be a boon for developers big and small to bring their titles to the platform? Will it successfully compete with similar existing products or will it be relegated to a niche market? My hopes are high and not just because I invested in the platform but because the console market needs something like this to show that 100% digital delivery is feasible outside of the PC gaming market. I'm actually considering shooting their press e-mail to see if I can get some questions answered directly.

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